RPT GM Iron-D&D asks what 3 Round Combat Plans are, which I mentioned in a recent email titled My Secret For Effectively Building Epic Adventures. 3 Round Combat Plans were introduced in my course Faster Combat. It’s been mentioned by others online, and I do not think I invented it. But I haven’t found a […]Continue reading
Several great articles I’ve found lately talk about D&D’s Action Economy. An Action Economy is a measure of how many moves the PCs can make versus their foes. In D&D 5E it’s clear that the game favours the party. PCs often get two or three additional actions versus foes. If for every action of mine […]Continue reading
Here’s a great tip for speeding up combats from RPT GM Gary Martin: I’ve found one of the huge culprits at our table is the player zoning out while waiting for their turn. Even if turns are slow, it makes them five times slower when you have re-explain what’s going on. What I started doing […]Continue reading
Here’s a radical idea, but hear me out. I’ve done this before, and when done right it works well. When a character makes a fantastic monster lore check, hand them the monster manual and let them read the monster entry out to the group. There are pros and cons here. Cons No secrets, no surprises […]Continue reading
I recently posted ideas to help a reader about to GM a combat with a hydra in an arena setting. You emailed me back with great additional ideas and tips. Thank you! Here’s what I received that might help any combat you run in the future: Effective Crowd Control From Jack Shandley I love the […]Continue reading
Gold Patron Jack S. asked me how to make an arena fight with a hydra memorable: I’m running D&D 5e for my players. I am planning a big arena fight with a Hydra while they’re in the big city for some downtime. (It’s part of a big end-of-year adventurers showcase that I’m pretty excited for […]Continue reading
Last summer I watched a video with a great tip on how to add more story and drama to my melees. I’ve been using this tip for several sessions now, and it’s made a big difference. However, this narrative tactic was tricky for me at first, especially because it’s all improv. I’m finally getting up […]Continue reading
Have foes negotiate, retreat, or flee to end fights early. This new article by Daniel J. Mello offers great ideas about adding morale to make skirmishes faster and grittier, as well. However, while some games make retreats easy, in systems like D&D extricating oneself from combat is the kiss of death. After opportunity attacks, control […]Continue reading
I received an interesting tip request from RPT GM Kristen: What do you think about things like adding 50 HP because the baddies go down too quickly? One of my players actually said I should have done that rather than letting the encounter flop. A tricky situation. I refrain from doing this. I feel it […]Continue reading
RPT GM Kristen emailed me this worry: Hi Johnn, I used to fudge dice rolls. I’ve definitely changed my perspective on that from stuff you’ve said and other DMs that talk about this. I think what made me want to fudge things is that I’m afraid what I’ve made is too difficult for my players […]Continue reading
From Daniel J. Mello (danscififan) Morale — the esprit de corps, the willingness of the unit to continue to fight. This is an old wargame trait assigned to various armies. Infantry are well trained and usually have a high Morale, where partisans and rebels are not as well trained and often have a lower Morale. […]Continue reading
Combat without purpose becomes a grind.
One awesome solution you can use: Combat Missions.
But it’s more than that.
Toastmasters taught me to start with the audience and ask one key question:
How do I want the audience to feel during and after my speech?
So too it is with combats.Continue reading
Smashing until one side runs out of hit points gets tired fast. In Faster Combat I teach you to add story to the fight. When melee gains greater meaning, players get more engaged. While adding story, be sure to make the stakes known before the battle starts. Now players will think about the stakes and […]Continue reading
I posted something on Reddit and got a great tangential comment from user/ChristopherDornan. He advocates for occasional easy combats, which I agree with. Here’s his excellent comment: Don’t underestimate the value of an easy combat. It does two things, both are incredibly important. It drives home that PCs are heroes, and much stronger than your […]Continue reading
It is amazing how RPGs can flex to accommodate our GMing preferences and style. A game like Monopoly allows little difference each play. But our beloved RPGs are marvellous in how many ways we can tweak and adapt them to match our individual and changing notions of what’s fun. For example, RPT GM Jorge Gonzalez […]Continue reading
That’s how it might feel waiting for the player on your left to finally wrap up their turn. “Whew. Whose initiative is it now?”Continue reading
One thing I know I can improve from my side of the table is to play more tactically with the monstersContinue reading